Anti-draft radical chased out of top yeshiva with tear gas, eggs

Students at prominent Kol Torah yeshiva infuriated after Yerushalmi Faction member visits, chase him out with eggs and tear gas.

Tzvi Lev ,

Yerushalmi Faction protesters demonstrate against draft law in Jerusalem
Yerushalmi Faction protesters demonstrate against draft law in Jerusalem
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

A prominent member of the radical Yerushalmi Faction was chased out of an elite haredi Yeshiva with shouts and flying objects in the latest twist in the internal power struggle roiling Israel's haredi community.

On Thursday evening, a celebration was held at the Kol HaTorah Yeshiva in Bayit Vegan for Meir Borodianski, a haredi student who was recently released after spending 40 days in prison for draft dodging.

However, the celebration infuriated other members of the yeshiva who oppose the extremist haredi group, and they pelted the radical haredim with eggs and tear gas. Aharon Bialeh, a prominent member of the Yerushalmi Faction, was beaten and lodged a complaint with the police over the assault.

The elite Kol Hatorah Yeshiva has been torn by internal dissent among students regarding its support of the Yerushalmi Faction. While the yeshiva officially opposes the group, small pockets of students and staff have come out in support and have even attended its anti-IDF demonstrations that shut down major traffic arteries across Israel.

Earlier this month, Kol Hatorah dismissed Dean Rabbi Baruch Shmuel Hacohen Deutsch after he refused to withdraw his support for the faction. After numerous complaints from students, senior staff at the Kol Hatorah Yeshiva decided that they had no alternative other than to part ways despite the rabbi's popularity.

The Yerushalmi Faction, which is connected with recently-deceased Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, has been locked in a power struggle with the mainstream haredi community ever since the death of Torah Sage Rabbi Sholom Elyashiv in 2012.

The Yerushalmi Faction considered Rabbi Elyashiv's successor, Bnei Brak-based Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman to be an illegitimate leader, and revolted against his authority, splitting the hierarchical haredi world. Since the split, the Lithuanian-haredi world has been locked in a power struggle over which rabbinical leader controls the community.